On Tuesday, presidential candidate Nikki Haley delivered a major policy speech on abortion at the Susan B. Anthony List headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Excerpts are pasted below. You can read the whole speech here.
“Consensus on Abortion”
April 25, 2023
Abortion is a deeply personal topic for both women and men. I understand why. Someone’s body and someone else’s life are not things to be taken lightly, and they should not be politicized. The issue should be addressed with sensitivity and respect, not judgment and hate.
I believe every life is a blessing from God. My heart hurts when someone decides not to go through with a pregnancy.
My record on abortion is long and clear.
As a state legislator, I voted for every pro-life bill that came before me.
We made it easier for women to get ultrasounds.
We required a 24-hour wait before abortions.
As Governor, we passed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, protecting babies born during botched abortions.
I signed a law protecting unborn babies from the moment they can feel pain.
We also launched initiatives that paired thousands of vulnerable first-time moms with nurses who had specialized training in maternal and child health.
I kept up the fight as ambassador to the United Nations.
And I’m not done yet.
My goal as president will be the same as when I was Governor and Ambassador.
I want to save as many lives and help as many moms as possible.
I said I want to save as many lives and help as many moms as possible. That is my goal.
To do that at the federal level, the next president must find national consensus.
That might sound strange to many people.
Under Roe, consensus was replaced by demonization. And let’s be honest: most in the media promote demonization. They stoke division pitting Americans against each other.
No one talks about finding consensus. Everyone goes to the barricades and attacks the other side.
They’ve turned a sensitive issue that has long divided people into a kind of gotcha bidding war.
How many weeks are you for? How many exceptions are you for? And so on.
But these questions miss the point if the goal is saving as many lives as possible.
You don’t save any lives if you can’t enact your position into law. And you can’t do that unless you find consensus.
Reaching consensus starts with humanizing, not demonizing. Just like I have my story, I respect everyone who has their story. I don’t judge someone who is pro-choice any more than I want them to judge me for being pro-life.
Today, each state is finding its own consensus, as they should.
Nationally, however, the task is much harder. As a practical matter, you only achieve consensus when you have a House majority, a 60-vote Senate majority, and a president who are all in alignment.
I do believe there is a federal role on abortion. Whether we can save more lives nationally depends entirely on doing what no one has done to date – finding consensus. That’s what I will strive to do.
In fact, I believe common ground already exists.
There is broad public agreement that babies born during a failed abortion deserve to live. They need medical care and the full protection of the law, just like every other baby.
There is broad public agreement that we should never pressure moms into having an abortion. They should get support to carry their baby to term. They should be able to get information from pregnancy resource centers – and especially about adoption.
We must do better when it comes to adoption, to make it easier for adoptive parents, and to avoid children growing up in a government system with too little love.
We can broadly agree that pro-life doctors and nurses should never be forced to violate their beliefs. The right of conscience matters just as much as the right to life.
Surely, we can all agree that abortion up until the time of birth is a bridge too far. Only seven countries on earth allow elective late-term abortions. We’re talking brutal regimes like Communist China and North Korea.
We should be able to agree that contraception should be more available, not less.
And we can all agree that women who get abortions should not be jailed. A few have even called for the death penalty. That’s the least pro-life position I can possibly imagine.
We don’t need a president who endangers lives while dividing our country even more. We need a president who unites Americans and brings out the best in them, even on the toughest of subjects.
That will be my approach as president.
I believe in conversation.
I believe in compassion.
I believe in empathy, not anger.
We’re not just talking about policy here. We’re talking about people.
That’s often lost in this debate, on the left and the right. But it’s front of mind for me.
I acknowledge the humanity of both the unborn baby and the pregnant mom.
If we want to protect more moms and save more babies, we need more Americans to join with us. We must persuade people and find consensus, not push them further away.
I know we can do it.
I’ve done it before.
Eight years ago, when I was governor, I encountered the most difficult challenge of my life.
A sick and twisted young man walked into Mother Emanuel Church, in Charleston. He joined a bible study of African Americans, sat and prayed with them for over an hour, then opened fire. He murdered nine amazing souls. He openly said he did it because of the color of their skin.
In the awful days that followed, photos emerged of the killer posing with the Confederate Flag. Amid our grief, a massive debate broke out. It centered on the Confederate Flag that flew on the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse.
Our state had been bitterly divided on the flag for decades. On one side were those who wanted to tear it down. On the other side were those who wanted to keep the flag. Both were united in sadness over the Mother Emanuel murders. But they were divided about what the flag meant, and what taking it down would mean.
The debate was intense. People wondered if South Carolina would break out in violence and destruction like what we had recently seen in Ferguson, Missouri and other places.
But we didn’t.
In that fraught moment, I gave a speech. I said, quote:
“For many people in our state, the flag stands for traditions that are noble — traditions of history, of heritage and of ancestry… At the same time, for many others in South Carolina, the flag is a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive past. As a state, we can survive, as we have done, while still being home to both of those viewpoints. We do not need to declare a winner and loser.”
And so, I said, it was time to remove the Confederate Flag from the statehouse grounds.
This was no easy task. It was a highly emotional issue in our state. And removal required a two-thirds vote in both our State House and Senate.
But several days later, large, diverse, and bipartisan majorities in our state legislature voted to bring down the flag.
We found consensus on a very tough issue. Republicans and Democrats worked together and made progress by talking to each other like human beings. We saw past our differences, and united to move forward, as one state and one people.
What was true then, with the flag, can be true now, with abortion.
This shouldn’t be about one movement winning, and another one losing.
This shouldn’t be about picking sides, scoring points, or stoking outrage.
It’s about saving babies and supporting moms.
Now that power has been restored to the people. Let us treat it as the important and deeply personal issue it is. Let’s discuss it in ways that allow Americans to show love for one another, not judgment or contempt. And let’s find a consensus that allows us to save as many babies as we can while supporting women in difficult situations.
I am ready for the hard work that lies ahead. And I’m confident we can move together, toward our founding promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.